A Sting Exclusive: “Leading by example! EU must push for UN deal to avoid dangerous climate change”, European Parliament Vice-President Ulrike Lunacek cries out from Brussels

Ulrike LUNACEK

Mrs Ulrike Lunacek is Vice president of the European Parliament and MEP forGreens/European Free Alliance

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ulrike Lunacek, Vice president of the European Parliament and MEP Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/Austria).

The climate-change impacts are already visible in natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans. The latest Assessment Report (5AR) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has presented unequivocal evidence to demonstrate climate warming and that human activities are the dominant cause of observed climate change since the middle of the 20th century. From 2000 to 2010, global greenhouse gas emissions were the highest in human history. Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes to the land, atmosphere and oceans in all regions of the globe and in all countries.

Scientists predict that without significant global mitigation action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, global average temperature is likely to be as much as 4 or 5°C higher by 2080.

The UNFCCC climate summit in Paris will be a rare and crucial opportunity for the world to move forward and speed up the ongoing transformation to a zero carbon future. Although every country will have to contribute to the effort to reduce their climate impact, the EU has to step up its ambition to ensure the future UN climate agreement, a Paris Protocol, is sealed in December and is up to the challenge of maintaining climate change to well below 2°C. As Greens, we are concerned that the EU risks being a bystander at COP21 if it does not up its game.

The EU’s 2030 climate change targets are acknowledged to be low on ambition. The headline figure of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% is already far below what is necessary, both to limit global warming to 2 degrees and to spur the green economy. A positive signal from the EU that it is willing to increase this ambition depending on an agreement at the COP21 would provide some momentum and impetus for the Paris talks.

Long-term emissions goals will be a key issue at the COP21. We need to be phasing out carbon globally by 2050 and moving to zero emissions to prevent dangerous climate change. The EU should join the other countries calling for this in the UN negotiations. Simply aligning the EU’s position with that of the G7 (a global reduction of emissions between 40-70% by 2050) is out of sync with the EU’s goal of limiting the global increase in temperature to below 2°C.

Finance for assisting developing countries most affected by climate change will be another crucial factor in agreement at the COP21. If the EU is to try and positively influence the outcome, we need to both deliver on commitments up to 2020 but also commit to fair and predictable scale of public climate aid beyond 2020. The Paris Protocol also needs to lay down the global phase-out of all carbon emissions and phase-in of 100% renewable energy by 2050. Parties need to make a collective commitment to shift public support (finance and policy) away from fossil fuels towards climate resilience and universal and fair access to sustainable energy.

And the agreement must provide for a regular review process to keep track of scientific advances and adequacy of climate action, as well as the fairness of those commitments.

Uniform rules for monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions need to be agreed in Paris to ensure that the implementation of national contributions is transparent and quantifiable.

The Paris Protocol needs to establish adequate and predictable international climate finance for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries as well as a functioning mechanism to address loss and damage. The agreement should mandate IMO and ICAO to set up measures with effect by 2021 to curb climate impacts of aviation and shipping, in line with the scale and urgency of the climate challenge.

We Greens call on the EU as the largest donor to act collectively and use revenues from sources that are independent from Member States’ annual budgetary procedures, such as ETS auction revenues and financial transaction tax. Revenues from market based instruments to reduce global aviation and shipping emissions should be dedicated to contributing to post 2020 international climate finance and the Green Climate Fund.

According to the 5AR, I mentioned above, global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak by 2015 at the latest, and need to be reduced by an annual rate of around 6% in order to maintain a likely chance of keeping the rise in global average temperature below 2°C. The EU must be consistent with a linear reduction pathway towards the objective of phasing out carbon emissions by 2050 and therefore increase its own 2030 climate target to 60%. The respect, protection and promotion of human rights are prerequisite for effective global climate action. This encompasses i.a. gender equality, full and equal participation of women, and the active promotion of a just transition of the workforce creating decent work and quality jobs for all.

Delaying actions will only increase costs and reduce options to limit the disastrous impacts of climate change. Leading by example is the only way the EU will encourage all countries make an adequate contribution. Increasing Europe’s climate ambition can benefit the EU as well as drive a race to the top encouraging other countries to step up their climate efforts.

The UNFCCC climate summit in Paris will be a rare and crucial opportunity for the world to move forward and speed up the ongoing transformation to a zero carbon future.

Although every country will have to contribute to the effort to reduce their climate impact, the EU has to step up its ambition to ensure the future UN climate agreement, a Paris Protocol, is sealed in December and is up to the challenge of maintaining climate change to well below 2°C. As Greens, we are concerned that the EU risks being a bystander at COP21 if it does not up its game. Leading by example is the only way the EU will encourage all countries make an adequate contribution.

About the author

Ulrike Lunacek is Vice president of the European Parliament; MEP (Greens/Austria) since 2009; Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Substitute in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs; Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup of the EP; 

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

It’s time to get serious about the causes of pandemics: UN report

When will Eurozone’s unemployment rate stop being Europe’s worst nightmare?

Gender equality within junior enterprises: the effect of President’s gender

Planes can now fly for 21 hours non-stop. But are people ready?

COP21 Breaking News: China has promised to cut emissions from its coal power plants by 60% by 2020

Drought in Europe: Commission presents additional measures to support farmers

Flexible jobs can make work-life balance worse, a German study finds

Commission tries to solidify the EU statistical system

Youth not prioritised in new Commission

New rules to help consumers join forces to seek compensation

YouTube stars get creative at UN, to promote tolerance

Renewable energy can get India’s returned rural migrants back to work

The Chinese solar panels suddenly became too cheap for Europe

With human rights under attack, UN chief unveils blueprint for positive change

What can each individual do to lessen the burden of mental health in times of the pandemic?

Millennials (and Gen X) – Here are the steps you should take to secure your financial future

In New Zealand it takes less than a day to start a business

Merkel had it her way with the refugees & immigrants but can Greece and Turkey deliver?

A Sting Exclusive: “Our Great Awakening, Rebuilding in a Culture of Collective Trauma”, by Dr Hokemeyer

It’s time to switch to a four-day working week, say these two Davos experts

Inaction on obesity stands in the way of sustainable development

“China will strive to enhance the performance of economic growth”, President Xi highlights from the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos

Global spotlight on world drug problem ‘is personal’ for many families, says UN chief

Deaf advocate voices importance of sign languages as UN marks first commemoration

First EU-wide protection for whistle-blowers agreed

Senior UN official strongly condemns Southern California synagogue attack

Eurozone retail sales fall shows recession

Using the quarantine to your advantage

UN’s Guterres condemns ongoing airstrikes on Syria’s hospitals, medical workers

Which countries’ workers spend the longest (and shortest) in retirement?

“Decent working conditions for the young health workforce: what are the challenges and can we find solutions?”

Big world banks to pay $ 4.95bn for cheating customers; Is it a punishment or a gentle caress?

This ‘hidden killer’ is responsible for one in five deaths, and you might never have heard of it

Brexit and migration dominates the debate on October’s EU summit

Mental health as a tool of survival at the Pandemic

Progress made in UN talks to end Yemen war, Envoy lauds ‘positive and serious spirit’

Why Microsoft is a regular to Almunia’s

The Eurogroup has set Cyprus on fire

The Parliament defies a politically biased Banking Union

End discrimination against women and children affected by leprosy

The dark side of Diwali, festival of lights

Libya: €2 million in humanitarian assistance to cover basic needs

Antitrust: Commission provides guidance on allowing limited cooperation among businesses, especially for critical hospital medicines during the coronavirus outbreak

Scale of displacement across Myanmar ‘very difficult to gauge’, says UN refugee agency

How to future-proof India’s economy

Our indispensable problem: the paradox of modern plastics

Quelling antimicrobial resistance: a clinico-pharmacological exigency

A Sting Exclusive: “Our ambition is by 2020 Indonesia to become an emerging power of World’s Maritime Access”, reveals the Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Indonesia in Brussels, treating WEF, ASEAN and EU-Indonesia relations on the eve of the World Economic Forum East Asia 2015 in Jakarta

This is what has led to the George Floyd protests in the United States

Why the 21st century’s biggest health challenge is our shared responsibility

Conditions deteriorating alarmingly in Yemen, warns senior UN official

ECB: Reaching the limits of its mandate to revive the Eurozone economy

Canada and EU officially sign the trade agreement that could open-up the road to TTIP

OECD leading multilateral efforts to address tax challenges from digitalisation of the economy

Franchise India 2016, returns in 14th year 

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “Chinese economy has great potential, resilience and ample space for policy adjustment”, China’s Vice President Li Yuanchao reassures from Davos

Syrian civilians must be protected amid ISIL executions and airstrikes: Bachelet

The EU lets the bankers go on rigging the benchmarks

‘Chance for peace’ in South Sudan finally within reach, declares UN Peacekeeping chief

Khashoggi murder trials must public and meet international standards, UN expert urges

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s